God's Spirit is for Everybody: Achievements, Challenges, and Our Identity in Obama's America, Part 3
When I think about my own life, and when I think about the things that God has brought me through, no longer do I have to be ashamed of growing up in poverty; no longer do I have to be ashamed of coming from a broken home; no longer do I have to be ashamed of coming from a family where some were addicted to drugs; no longer do I have to be ashamed of the days when we couldn't afford to put food on the table and did the best we could just to survive.
But I am I witness to the truth of God's word when he says, after I repay you for the years the locust have eaten, perform wonders, and deal with your shame, then I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days.
And that means a lot to me, because too often in our churches and in our society, we are led to believe and treated as if only certain people are worthy, but God's Spirit is for everybody. Sometimes we're led to believe that the only blessed people are the people with the nice clothes, the big house, and the expensive car, but God's Spirit is for all people. In fact, if the things that we can buy in life could really make us happy, then why do we always hear about rich people addicted to drugs and committing suicide? You can have all the right stuff and look good on the outside and yet be dying on the inside, lonely, feeling like nobody understands you or truly knows you.
We were not created to accumulate stuff, but we were created to be in relationship with each other. When God wanted to reconcile the world to himself, God didn't say okay, I wanted people to have a relationship with me, so uh, let me nail a Bentley to the cross. God is concerned about people, so God manifested as a person. He says I will pour out my Spirit on all people -- it doesn't matter what you look like, where you come from, your race, or if you're a man or women.
But what happens after God pours out his Spirit? He says men and women will prophesy, your old men will dream dreams, your young men will see visions. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days. The order in which God speaks is not an accident. First men and women will prophesy. My brothers and sisters, I will be so glad when churches across this country get over the notions of what a women can and can't do in the church. I am so tired of men with self-esteem problems that make them afraid of women in leadership. In fact, I'm even tired of women who can't handle seeing another woman in charge. But if God did not use women like my mother, my grandmother, and other wise and courageous women to put their foot down when I needed to be dealt with, I never would have made it. If God says that in order for lives to be changed, for our men to dream and our young men to have vision for the future, then our women must prophesy, then the rest of us need to fall in line and sit down so that God can speak through these women and keep our men from giving up on their dreams and our young men from dying on the streets because they can't see that God has a vision for their lives. We need to understand that if people are going to stop suffering and find healing for their souls, then we need more men and women to prophesy deliverance!
When people hear a prophetic word of healing, reconciliation, forgiveness, and love, it will open the door for them to dream and have a vision for the future. We need men and women who are willing to prophesy. But there is a difference between a prophetic word and a pathetic word. A prophetic word changes lives and tells people to worship and witness. A prophetic word will make you feel good and motivate you to do good. A pathetic words lets you feel good on Sunday morning and then feel like you can't make it on Monday morning. A pathetic word is more concerned with performance than it is with any notion of being prophetic.
I'll never forget the day when I received a call asking me to preach a funeral for a woman who committed suicide. It grieved my spirit because after the funeral one of her family members told me that only three days before she took her own life, she was in church and after worship tried to find someone to talk to but nobody had time. She was there with the rest of us worshiping and hearing songs of praise, we heard the same sermon, but only days later something made her feel like she couldn't live any longer.
And I asked God, did we do something wrong? Was there something wrong with the preaching that morning? God, why wasn't it enough to save her life? I could not understand, and I don't know what she was going through, but there is no circumstance in life that should make you want to give up. I can't remember what was preached that Sunday, but I do know we need men and women who will prophesy deliverance, healing, love, and forgiveness instead of sermons that sound good but lack any real substance. God says when I pour out my Spirit, men and women will prophesy and prophesy deliverance so that people who are hurting and looking for a word from the Lord will know that God is an ever present help in a time of trouble. God has not forgotten you, God is going to bring you out, and there's no problem that God cannot handle.